How to Make a Postpartum Plan for a Smooth Recovery

You’ve heard of birth plans, but making a postpartum plan can be equally if not more important.

A postpartum plan is a way to help you prepare for those first few months after giving birth.  Many women create birth plans in anticipation of their labor and delivery, but often neglect the postpartum period.  This can result in sleep deprivation, breastfeeding problems, added stress and may even contribute to symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety. 

Here’s how and why you should create a postpartum plan for the months following your baby’s birth. 
How to Make a Postpartum Plan for a Smooth Recovery
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
How to Make a Postpartum Plan for a Smooth Recovery

The postpartum period is often called the fourth trimester and usually considered the first three months after giving birth.  However, women require different amounts of time to recover after childbirth.  The physical and hormonal changes usually regulate within six weeks, but mental health can sometimes take longer.  Whether it’s your first or your fourth child, it can be hard to predict how long you will need postpartum care until the time actually comes.

Download our 13 page printable Postpartum Plan in the Postpartum Depression Free Resource Library!

Limit Visitors

The birth of a baby is like a mass signal to all our family and friends that it’s time to come and meet them.  But too many visitors at once can interrupt the postpartum healing process.  You may either feel excited to show off your new baby, or anxious about too many people crowding them (and you).

If you’ve given birth in a hospital, then there are usually specific rules that visitors must follow and this should also be the case when you are home.  Try to schedule specific times for visitors, and don’t have everyone come all at once.  Make sure visitors are washing their hands before holding or touching baby and don’t let anyone to kiss your newborn baby.  Don’t allow visitors to simply “drop by” because that could interrupt your sleep or breastfeeding routine.  And if at any time you feel anxious or overwhelmed by your visitors, feel free to ask them to leave or excuse yourself to your your bedroom.  You’re not a party hostess. 

Communicate these rules to your family and friends, even if it feels awkward.  Adding this into your postpartum plan and letting them all know your wishes ahead of time can make it easier.  Once baby arrives, the excitement can often distract everyone from the plan, so make sure to remind them in a text, e-mail or a printed note on the front door.  No one should feel offended by your decision to focus on your postpartum health. 

printable newborn car seat signs
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Keep Track of Your Appointments

Just like during pregnancy, both you and baby will require regular check ups during the postpartum period.  It’s important not to skip any of these appointments, and making a schedule of them can help.

Take a look at a calendar and figure out your postpartum timeline. When will you be 2 weeks postpartum?  Baby will need a check up with their pediatrician.  What date will you be 6 weeks postpartum?  That’s when you will need your checkup.  The postpartum period can often go by quickly, so knowing the dates that you hit these milestones ahead of time can help you stay focused on your recovery. 

If you can, try to book all of your appointments in advance.  Doctor’s offices can sometimes be difficult to get into, and a lot can change in just a few days during the postpartum period.  If you know that you have an appointment coming up, you can prepare any questions that you have ahead of time.  Making notes of things that you want to discuss can help to reduce stress and anxiety. 

And don’t forget to include any appointments with lactation consultants, the public health nurse, newborn photographers, for religious ceremonies, to get government paperwork or passports done, etc.  When you think about it, there’s a lot that needs to be done to welcome a new person into the world. 

Postpartum Appointment Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Enlist Help

It really does take a village to raise a child.  Many moms these days tend to go it alone thanks to our ever busy lives.  But historically and in many cultures today, it’s unheard of for a new mother to tackle the postpartum period on her own.  Asking for help during the postpartum period does not make you any less capable of a mother.  If anything, it’s one of the smartest things you can do.

Make a list or schedule for those who are available and willing to help you out.  Your spouse or partner is going to be helper number one but it’s understandable that they won’t be available 24/7 as most workplaces only offer minimal amounts of parental leave.  Try to schedule additional help during the times they are not around.  Parents, siblings, friends, neighbors are often more than happy to help you out – all you have to do is ask. 

If you really can’t find anyone to help, and your budget can afford it, considering hiring help.  A postpartum doula is specifically trained to help you with everything you need in the postpartum period. You can also consider hiring a housekeeper or cleaning service, a food delivery service or night nurse.  If there isn’t room in your budget for these kinds of things, add them to your baby registry.

Postpartum Helper Schedule
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Make Time to Rest

Your postpartum plan should be centered around getting rest.  Rest is so incredibly important in those first few months postpartum.  Regardless of how your labor and delivery went, all moms need to allow their bodies time to heal.  A lot is happening inside of us that we don’t always see from the outside.  So while making your postpartum plan, make sure to schedule in lots of time for sleep, naps and lying down with your feet up.

Moms tend to feel guilty when it comes to rest.  The urge to cook and clean and take care of everyone else is a strong force within us.  But rest is an important part of the healing process, both physically and mentally.  Thankfully, newborns are pretty cooperative when it comes to this.  Even if you’re not “sleeping when baby sleeps” make sure that both you and baby are getting enough sleep.

Once you’ve enlisted help to take care of all your other responsibilities, spend as much time as you can in bed with your baby.  Focus on breastfeeding, have lots of skin to skin contact and sleep whenever baby does. This will also help with the bonding process, which can help with symptoms of the baby blues or postpartum depression

Postpartum Sleep Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Plan Out Your Meals

A healthy diet is essential to healing in the postpartum period.  What type of food you eat can affect breastfeeding, your postpartum body and your mental health.  You shouldn’t have to worry about cooking during the first few weeks, so having prepared food ready should be an essential part of your postpartum plan. 

Stocking the freezer with healthy meals is a common practice for many moms during the “nesting phase” of their pregnancy.  This will ensure that you always have something hearty that can be ready with very little effort.  Stock your pantry with healthy non-perishables that are easy to whip up, like canned meats or beans, soups, pasta, or instant oatmeal (great for boosting your milk supply.)  Buy them little by little throughout your pregnancy so that you have a fully stocked pantry by the time baby arrives.

Create a list of some of your favorite healthy dishes that family and friends can cook and bring for you when they come to visit.  The majority of people (especially veteran moms) love feeling helpful by bringing food, but you don’t want to end up with a bunch of casseroles that you’ll never touch.  They don’t have to be full meals either, you can request some simple things like fresh fruit or vegetables, smoothies or sandwiches. 

Or try a food delivery service.  There are so many different ones available now. Many of them offer free dishes and trial periods which can hold you over during the postpartum period.  Don’t forget to add gift cards to these services on your baby registry, they make great last minute or long-distance gift ideas. 

Postpartum Meal Plan
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Add in Light Exercise

Your postpartum body is very different than your pre-pregnancy one.  Many moms are anxious to start dropping the baby weight and get back into shape, but postpartum fitness should be more about strength and wellness than weight loss.  Once you’ve gotten the green light from your doctor or midwife, you can begin to add in light exercise to help your body recover from pregnancy and childbirth.

Focus on your pelvic floor muscles.  The pelvic floor muscles do the majority of the work when it comes to pregnancy, labor and delivery.  During the postpartum period, they will need some work to get them back into shape and reduce the risk of pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.  There are several light exercises you can do to strengthen them, including Kegels and pelvic lifts.  Or you can invest in a pelvic floor training device to do them with ease. 

Try low-impact workouts, like yoga.  Postpartum yoga is a popular option and some places even offer mom and baby classes.  Walking or jogging is another great option for moms, with local stroller walking groups popping up all over the place.  Any kind of light exercise will help get you feeling like yourself again.  But until your body is fully healed, it’s a good idea to hold off on weight lifting or high-intensity workouts. 

Postpartum Exercise Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Monitor Your Mental Health

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are one of most common complications of childbirth.  Even if you are low risk, there are chances that you could get postpartum depression, anxiety or psychosis.  This is something all mothers should be aware of and prepare for in their postpartum plan.

Keep track of changes in your moods and daily habits.  If you feel less energy, are prone to rage and anger, become frustrated or cry easily and often, these could be warning signs that it’s more than just the baby blues.  If you think that you are suffering from postpartum depression, perform a self assessment to help you see things more clearly.

Don’t stay silent about it.  Speak up if you feel like something isn’t right.  Tell your spouse, your mom or best friend.  Talk to your doctor or midwife.  Call a postpartum support helpline.  There are several different options available and it’s better to get help sooner rather than later. 

Postpartum Mood Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

A postpartum plan should be designed with you and baby in mind.  Just like with a birth plan, make sure to communicate what you want with those who will be supporting you in the first few months.  And, also like a birth plan, bear in mind that things may not always go according to plan.  Your labor and delivery will have a lot to do with your recovery process.  Make sure to leave room for adjustments as needed.  Most importantly, rest, relax, and get to know your new baby!

Postpartum Plan Printable Workbook
Click here to download the Postpartum Plan Workbook, available in the Postpartum Depression Free Resource Library.

How To NOT Feel Isolated While in Self Isolation

Self isolation is the recommended course of action for many during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Those who have recently traveled, have come in contact with someone with COVID-19, or who are sick are putting themselves into self isolation.  This basically means to quarantine yourself within your home for two weeks.  And further more, social distancing has us all keeping away from friends and public places.  With all of this isolation and anxiety, how does a person avoid actually feeling isolated?  For moms with mental health issues, isolation can actually make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse, so it’s important to have some ways to manage the loneliness. 

During self isolation, try some of these tips to avoid feeling lonely.
How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation

Most people, especially moms, will not actually be alone during their self isolation or social distancing.  Spouses and children will likely be in isolation with them.  It’s hard to say whether this makes it better or worse for a woman with postpartum depression or anxiety.  Having the family around 24/7 might become overwhelming very quickly.  

While it’s great to embrace this gift of family time, make sure that each person is also getting enough alone time to themselves each day.  This could be quiet reading or doing a quiet activity all in one room, or have everyone separate into different rooms for an hour or two each day.  This will surely benefit everyone’s mental health during the isolation period.

If the entire family is beginning to feel isolated from the outside world, then consider some of these options.

Make a Connection

Even though we can’t go out and socialize with our friends right now, we can still make connections with others.  We need to stick together, especially during these uncertain times. This is something we should be doing daily or at least a few times a week in order to maintain our mental health.

.

Phone a friend or family member. Simply talking to another human being helps you avoid isolation.

Video chat with a friend or family member.  It helps to see another familiar face from time to time, and not just hear their voice.  This is also a great option for younger kids.

Write a letter to someone.  It doesn’t even have to be someone you know.  Consider writing letters with your kids to senior’s homes, hospitals, government offices, army bases, etc.  It would make someone’s day.

Write an email to someone.  Same as above, but send it online instead.  You can find e-mail addresses for most places on their websites.  Let your favorite local shop know how much you miss their store/business while it’s closed, and can’t wait to be back there again. 

Read a book or watch a movie.  Going on adventures with the characters in a book or a movie is another way to help you feel less lonely and isolated.  Now is a great time to start binge watching that TV series you’ve been wanting to start.

Adopt or foster a pet. If you’re going to be locked up inside the house for weeks anyway, why not foster a pet to keep you company?  You could all benefit from the company during this anxious time.

Find a Distraction

Don’t count the days of self isolation on a calendar, find a way to pass the time.  Keeping the mind distracted is a great way to avoid things like intrusive or anxious thoughts while you are quarantined at home. 

20 Awesome Etsy Finds That Will Get You Through Quarantine
.

Cook or Bake.  Don’t do it with the intention of “getting dinner on the table” as that will likely stress you out even more. Spend a day cooking some homemade soup or baking fresh bread or muffins with the kids.  Take your time and don’t worry about the mess. 

Clean.  Self isolation is the perfect time to clean out that closet you’ve been avoiding for months.  Start your spring cleaning early and tackle on the big messes that you never have time for. Decluttering is also a great way to maintain your mental health. 

Craft.  You can find hundreds of crafts you can do with the kids on Pinterest.  Or maybe you’d rather do something just for you?

Learn something new.  Nothing keeps the brain busier than learning. If you’re planning on homeschooling the kids, that will keep all of your brains busy.  Trying to pick up a new skill?  Now is the perfect chance to focus on it undisturbed for weeks!  Interested in knitting? Check out Love Crafts for everything you need including free PDF patterns! 

Leave the House

If you’re in self isolation or practicing social distancing, you should be avoiding other people and public places.  But that doesn’t mean you have to be locked up within the walls of your house.  There are still several ways that you can safely leave the house in order to avoid complete isolation.

25 Easy Outdoor Self Care Ideas
.

Spend time in your own backyard.  Good weather or not, spending some time each day in your own backyard is a great way to get some fresh air and sunshine.

Walk around the neighborhood.  You can also go for a walk in your own neighborhood, especially on a sunny day.  The natural Vitamin D not only helps to boost your mood, but the coronavirus doesn’t survive long in the sun. 

Go for a drive.  Why not pack the kids into the minivan and go for a drive in the country?  See if you can spot any wildlife or signs of spring.  Take photos along the way and compile an album.  Stop for a picnic lunch on the side of the road and play some fun family car games. 

Work on Yourself

Having weeks of undisturbed time at home means you finally have the chance to focus on yourself.  This global pandemic is going to change our entire world in ways we never imagined.  Let’s begin to prepare for the aftermath of it by using our self-isolation time to reflect on our lives. 

100 Self Care Ideas that are Social Distancing Approved
.

Exercise. There’s no better way to avoid stress, anxiety, depression and isolation than to exercise daily.  Exercise is so important for both our physical and mental health.  You don’t need a home gym, either.  Watch yoga videos on YouTube or turn on some music and dance!

Read self help books. Maybe you’ll actually finish some of those books that you’ve been saving for when you have time.  Or try listening to some inspirational podcasts.

Try cognitive behavior therapy. If you’ve been putting off therapy because of a lack of time, self isolation is the perfect time to try online therapy. By completing an online therapy course, you can emerge from self-isolation with better tools to help you be successful in life. 

Meditate. There are several different ways to meditate, even if you’re not a fan of it.  Download a guided meditation app or simply spend time being mindful and grateful. Practice deep breathing and stretching for optimal health.  Turn on an essential oil diffuser and listen to some soothing meditation music. 

Focus on the positive. Self isolation is not the ideal situation for everyone. You may be worried about your job and bills and having enough food.  Instead, try to find something positive to focus on each day and write it down.  At the end of this quarantine, you can look back at this time and feel the happy moments instead of the negative ones. 

Make plans for the future.  Thinking about the future is a great way to avoid isolation and anxiety about the coronavirus. Sit down as a family and decide what things you’d like to do when this is all over.  Maybe you’ve learned to live with less or have realized where your true priorities are.  This is the time to set goals and make plans for the rest of this year.


Renee’s Postpartum Depression Story

Breastfeeding problems can contribute to postpartum depression in a variety of different ways. 

Often, we think of moms who are unable to breastfeed.  But even those who successfully breastfeed can also find themselves suffering.  Sometimes, breastfeeding dependency can make us blind to other problematic symptoms.  Renee from This Anxious Mum shares her story about how her breastfeeding dependency led to sleep deprivation and other side effects.  It became so important to her that she didn’t notice the bad shape her mental health was in. 

This is Renee’s story.
Renee's Postpartum Depression Story
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

I Drank the Crunchy Mum Koolaid – And It Made Me Self-Loathing

Of the many things I thought I’d cherish as a new mum, I NEVER counted on breastfeeding being one. I’d been firmly in the camp of “no thanks” for breastfeeding (especially extended breastfeeding, which I deemed “gross” and “only for hippie weirdos”) whilst pregnant, and I didn’t anticipate that changing.

Well, well well.

Nobody was more surprised than me when I became somewhat of a massive breastfeeding advocate. Of the many pivots my brain did in that short time between pregnancy and the fourth trimester ,this was perhaps the most significant in mine and my daughter’s life.

Despite being born at 32 weeks gestation and not mastering the sucking reflex until 34, I was able to maintain an exclusively breastfeeding relationship with my daughter for 10 months. The idea that I was the sole source of her nutrition was something that provided a great comfort to me, especially when I felt so utterly lacking in every other department.

I surrounded myself with other “breastfeeding buddies” and joined a multitude of breastfeeding support groups, eager to help new mums. I got in wars with other women over bottle vs breast and I openly judged anyone who, in my eyes was “depriving their child” through either their choice or inability not to breastfeed. I had a back pocket full of facts and sources about breastmilk and mother-child attachment.

How to Ensure Successful breastfeeding with postpartum depression
.

“This is all that’s important,” I told myself of my breastfeeding dependency.

It didn’t matter that my little girl, Elliott, woke over 10+ times an evening to feed.

It didn’t matter that her own father couldn’t help her sleep and that she would only settle for me and my boobs.

It didn’t matter that I felt constantly “on call” and that the hyper vigilance was affecting any little sleep I was getting.

It didn’t matter to these women I surrounded myself with either because we were good mothers.  And being a good mother meant being completely there for your child, day and night, even to the detriment of your own health.

I made snide comments to my husband about “those bottle-feeding families” how backward! Why would you willingly bottle feed when it’s so much extra washing up?!  What about the maternal bond? Don’t they care?

As is common in these groups, I created a little toxic echo chamber for myself where I felt both safe and held as well as completely petrified of being shunned for any juxtaposing beliefs. I had (at least in my eyes) isolated myself from the majority of society, whose beliefs I openly and vocally deemed harmful.

Every day I was scrupulous about combing through my words, both written and verbal, to make sure I wouldn’t offend anyone and ultimately be thrown out of my friend group. I began to feel trapped in my parenting choices and completely alone.

Self-care is often touted as the remedy for any and all ailments of the new mum. The problem is it was so freakin’ hard to fit a fart into my day, let alone a quiet yoga session or bubble bath.

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
.

As my daughter got older and more interested in things that challenged her fine motor skills, I found myself covered in tiny bruises in the stupidest of places after she had fed. She’d pinch, bite and slap me. I was no stranger to depression and anxiety, even before I had a child. I was convinced that I’d successfully shielded myself from postpartum depression, as though I was engaged in a game of hide and seek with mental illness, where I had a killer hiding spot.

Cracks began to form. Completely sleep deprived and emotionally depleted, I began self harming again, not even having the awareness to notice if my daughter was present. One evening I self harmed while holding my daughter. It was an unsafe environment and I needed help.

Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression - What is the Connection?
.

After my complete breakdown, I found myself in the local Mother and Baby Unit where I spent 5 long and emotional weeks. As well as engaging in therapy and using skills for myself alone, I also worked with an Occupational Therapist to help my relationship with my daughter, and things began to change.

My breast-obsessed, bottle refusing baby began to take a bottle of expressed milk. I told myself it was just a necessity now and that once I was better, I’d go back to being her everything, on call, always.

A large part of our breastfeeding relationship was feeding to sleep. I would feed my daughter for every nap and night sleep. Some nights she slept with my nipple in her mouth. And as much as I delighted in her little soft body and baby breath, I resented the loss of my bodily autonomy.

I had never intended to stop bed sharing, but a condition of staying a patient at the MBU is no “unsafe sleep.” My husband and I squeezed hands under the table when the admissions nurse mentioned this condition of admittance.

Surprisingly most of all to me, she took to a crib as though she’d been waiting for it, sick of sleeping next to someone. Changes seemed to take place slowly and then all at once. Four weeks into our stay, our baby seemed to turn into a little girl.

How to Avoid the Stress of Sleep Training
.

She ate finger foods like any other child her age and slept alone. I felt guilt, unlike anything I’d ever known. Our bed-sharing, breastfed baby, who refused solids, sleep and bottles were no longer, and it was my fault. I felt rejected and as though by partaking in these parenting practices, I was failing my daughter and her future development. The real struggles with this guilt and misplaced identity came after our hospital stay, on the day she turned 11 months old.

I began having migraines that couldn’t be helped by any painkillers I tried. Visiting the GP she prescribed a wafer type med that’d knock them out fast. One caveat being – I had to stop breastfeeding. I cried in my doctors’ office, I cried even more at home. Not because I felt I was depriving my daughter but because I felt I was depriving myself of something that I  found comforting.

The truth is, my daughter hadn’t wanted to breastfeed for weeks and I was barely producing milk. She’d latch on if I initiated a feed but she’d lose interest within a minute or two, contented just to pinch the skin around my neck and make me self conscious. This loss, I realized, was all mine.

I held my little girl that night and breastfed her for the final time.  I set up a self-timer and took photos of the “event” as though I was commemorating a loss. I woke the next morning fully anticipating a battle involving tears and tugging at the collar of my t-shirt.

There was nothing of the sort from my daughter, who was perfectly contented with her bottle and after all that worrying, the tears were all my own.


Author Bio:
Renee Shaw - This Anxious Mum
.

Renee is a maternal mental health blogger who believes in the healing power of words. When she isn’t writing she’s playing dinosaurs with her toddler. 

You can read more from Renee on her blog This Anxious Mum – http://thisanxiousmum.com

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression – Are You at Risk?

Does postpartum depression put you at a higher risk for contracting coronavirus?

The new coronavirus, COVID-19, is officially a global pandemic and causing all kinds of anxiety and uncertainty.  It can be especially hard on new moms who are already dealing with mental health issues.   Moms with postpartum depression might see an increase in their symptoms during this time.  Yes, it’s a stressful time for everyone, but could moms with mental health issues actually be at a higher risk?

If you have postpartum depression, find out if you are at risk of contracting coronavirus. 
Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression: Are you at Risk?
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression

Coronavirus and Postpartum Depression


Those most at risk for contracting coronavirus include the sick, elderly and people with a weakened immune system Many mothers with postpartum depression may suffer from a weak immune system, which is what puts them in the high-risk category.  Depending on how recently a mother has given birth, her immune system may not have had a chance to recover properly.  And certain behaviors caused by postpartum depression can affect our immune systems as well. 

Symptoms of a weakened immune system:

    • Frequent and long lasting illnesses and infections
    • Fatigue
    • Digestion issues (diarrhea, nausea, constipation)
    • New or increased allergies
    • Joint pain or inflammation

Think about whether or not you seem to catch every cold or still get the flu despite getting the flu shot.  Do your symptoms drag on for a long time? Do your wounds take long to heal?   These are all warning signs that you could have a weak immune system.  And if you’re likely to catch a cold from someone sneezing nearing you, then you’re also likely to catch coronavirus.

.

How does postpartum depression cause a weakened immune system?

Stress

Stress is the number one culprit when it comes to a weakened immune system.  High levels of stress can increase our cortisol levels and decrease our lymphocytes (the white blood cells that help fight off infection).  This imbalance within our bodies makes us more susceptible to viruses, like COVID-19.  Moms with postpartum depression and anxiety often find themselves under a lot of stress.  It’s never easy to manage the kids and a household, while trying to maintain our own mental health. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.

20 Awesome Etsy Finds That Will Get You Through Quarantine
.

Sleep Deprivation

New moms, especially those with symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety, are not getting nearly enough sleep as they need to.  Chronic sleep deprivation can affect our immune system in a negative way.  Normally while we sleep, our body works to produce certain antibodies that help us fight infection.  Sleep is also our body’s time to recharge and refill.  But when we don’t get enough sleep, our immune system goes into overdrive.  Then it doesn’t work when we need it to the most, like for fighting off the coronavirus. 

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
.

Isolation

Both postpartum depression and anxiety can cause a new mother to distance herself from others, long before the CDC recommended it for the prevention of the spread of Coronavirus.  Moms normally take extra measures to keep baby away from crowds and strangers, in order to protect their fragile immune systems.  But all this time spent in isolation results in the opposite for moms.  Without being exposed to normal, everyday bacteria in the outside world, moms haven’t been able to build up any immunity to it.  Our immune system needs a lot of practice in order to keep it in good, working condition.

How to NOT feel isolation while in self isolation
.

Fluctuating Hormone Levels

While the underlying cause of postpartum depression is still unknown, some theories suggest it could be due to changes in hormone levels after giving birth.  We know this to be the cause when it comes to the baby blues, which is why it’s so common and doesn’t last long.  Postpartum depression is a much more complicated illness, however.  Either way, lower levels of estrogen may contribute to weakening the immune system.  All women who experience a hormonal imbalance of estrogen might be susceptible.  This includes women who are postpartum, peri-menopausal or who have had a hysterectomy.

Unhealthy Eating Habits

Our body needs a steady source of vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy.  But moms with postpartum depression or anxiety don’t always have the greatest eating habits.  Whether it’s binge-eating junk food or skipping meals all together, these bad habits can weaken our immune system and make us susceptible to the coronavirus.  If food was an issue during your pregnancy (due to hyperemesis gravidarum, gestational diabetes, anemia, etc.) you may already have some type of vitamin deficiency.

Warning Signs Your Body is Screaming for a Detox
.

How will coronavirus affect a mom’s mental health?

  •  
  •  
    • Those with postpartum OCD might be overwhelmed about keeping germs away, hand-washing and disinfecting everything they touch (more than usual, that is).
    • Stress.  Lots of stress.  Stress about running out of food and supplies.  Stress about entertaining the kids while they’re off school.  Financial stress, marital stress, etc. 
I tried Online Therapy for 30 Days and this is what happened
.

What to do about it

The coronavirus is so new that not much is known about it yet.  Studies are being conducted on the effects of coronavirus on pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding moms, but they are still in the early stages.  Experts are working hard for answers but until then, it’s up to us to try to keep it contained. 

Here are some things that moms with postpartum depression can do during the coronavirus outbreak to help maintain their mental health.
    • Stop reading all the global news stories. Instead,  stick to the local news coverage, which will keep you updated on the issues that affect you the most.
    • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for prevention of the spread of coronavirus, and bear in mind that these are updated as more information becomes available. 
    • Eat healthy.  Stock up on fruit and vegetables and choose homemade meals over home delivery during quarantine.
    • Use an immune health supplement. Boost your immune system with a combination of Echinacea, Zinc and Vitamin C.
    • Drink lots of water.  Regularly drinking water not only boosts your immune system, but helps to flush out any unwanted bacteria in your body. 
    • Get plenty of fresh air in wide, open spaces.  Avoid crowded parks and playgrounds and take a stroll through nature instead. 
    • Practice deep breathing and meditation. Not only does meditation help to calm stress, but taking long, deep breaths will actually improve your lung function.  Strong lungs will help in the event that you need to fight off coronavirus. 
    • Focus on the positive. This worldwide pandemic is one for the history books!   As scary as the times are right now, we are living in a moment of history.  Try journaling your experiences, or take photos.  Look for ways that you can help out someone else, even if it’s just by making a phone call to check in. 
    • Continue practicing self care.  Increase the amount of self care you do daily, if that’s an option.  In order to keep yourself from getting cabin fever, you’ll need to find time to yourself each day. 
    • Try online therapy. If your mental health is truly suffering during the coronavirus outbreak, this is something you can always do from home. 
100 Self Care Ideas that are Social Distancing Approved
.

The thought of a global pandemic killing thousands of people across the world is truly terrifying.  With the intense amount of media coverage on the coronavirus, it can get very overwhelming for a mother with postpartum depression.  It’s terrifying because so much of it is out of our control. 

We need to focus on the small things that we can control.  Don’t waste your time hoarding toilet paper.  Instead, work on getting your immune system ready by eating healthy, getting enough sleep and finding ways to reduce your stress levels. In time, this too shall pass. 

How to Enjoy Being Pregnant

Not all women instantly enjoy being pregnant, some need additional motivation.

There’s little doubt that being pregnant is one of the most profound experiences of a person’s life, but it’s not as if it’s always a stroll in the park. Indeed, sometimes women begin to feel sick of carrying a child, and look forward to it being over. Since wishing for it to be over won’t make time speed up, it’s best to find ways to enjoy being pregnant. But good news: this isn’t so difficult!

Below, we take a look at a few tried and tested methods for getting the most out of your pregnant period.
How to Enjoy Being Pregnant
This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

Embrace the Status

Don’t forget – pregnant women have a special status in society, so make the most of it. You’re unlikely to get so many strangers offering to do things for you on a regular basis, so why not relish the status and let them do it for you during pregnancy? There’s going to be plenty for you to do when you’ve had your child; for now, enjoy being treated as a queen. This is also a chance for you to indulge yourself. If you want to spend 10 hours lying on the couch, then go ahead – you’ve got a free pass to rest as much as you want.

The Hyperemesis Gravidarum Diet
.

Handle the Problems

One of the downsides of being pregnant is that things can become a little uncomfortable from time to time. And that’s not surprising, since you’re putting your body through a pretty intense experience. So it’s important that you have the right set up at home, so you’re able to handle the problems that pregnancy may throw your way. Create comfortable seating and sleeping areas, stock up on stool softener and indigestion relief medicines, and be mindful of your mental health. The more problems you’re able to quickly handle, the more you’ll be able to enjoy being pregnant.

.

Share Your Joy With Friends and Family

One of the best things about being pregnant is that you’ll have so many people who are happy for you. So embrace the happiness of others, and have some fun. There’ll be times for celebrations with your friends and family, and special weekends away with your loved ones. Essentially, pregnancy should be fun — it is, after all, a wonderful experience that you’re going through. So if you have opportunities to get together or you have people who want to get involved and make a fuss over you, take it.

Look to the Future

Pregnancy can feel like a whole new world, but really, it’s just the beginning of a long journey. In order to enjoy being pregnant, remember that this phase only last 9 months and then you have en entire lifetime that follows. So while you’re pregnant, take some time to think about all that you’ve done so far and where you’re going in the future. It’s a time to reflect on all areas of your life, and be blessed for all that you have.

.

It’ll Only Happen Once

Finally, keep in mind that this pregnancy is only going to happen once. Even if you end up having more children, every pregnancy is unique! Be present, and aware of all that’s going on. Schedule a maternity photo session to help you remember your changing body.  It’ll allow you to see just how wondrous and magical a pregnancy can be.


How to Reclaim Your Sleep After Having a Baby

All moms could use a little extra sleep.

Whether you’re a brand new mom or a seasoned one, sleep is something we all crave.  The months shortly after having a baby are the worst for sleep deprivation and there’s usually no avoiding it.  But once you’ve got baby into a good routine and you’ve settled into motherhood a bit better, you can start to focus on how to reclaim all your lost hours of sleep.

Mom of two and freelance writer, Lisa Smalls, shares some tips on how to reclaim your sleep after having a baby.
How to Reclaim Your Sleep After Having a Baby
*This post may contain affiliate links. This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author.

Having a new baby will be one of the greatest feelings in your life, however, that thrill can be quickly replaced with the fatigue, lack of focus, anxiety and an increased temper all due to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is acquiring fewer than the seven-plus recommended hours of sleep each night. While newborn babies can sleep 16 to 20 hours each day, those hours are stretched into bursts which are often inconveniently disturbed when the parent is trying to sleep.

On average, a mother in the first three months after having a baby can lose between one and two hours of sleep each night and for both parents they can experience sleep deprivation for up to six years after the birth. While some people can get an adequate amount of sleep at six hours, most need between seven and nine, so those critical couple hours of loss after childbirth can make a big impact on your quality of sleep, especially considering the hours you do get are broken up into two-hour segments dictated by the baby’s fits.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
.

Your body requires not only that you receive seven hours, but also that those hours are subsequent to each other and they are quality sleep. Sleep is the way your body processes thoughts, emotions, memories and helps your body relax and repair. Without consistent sleep your body does not have the ability to process and file all of your information or process it correctly. This leads to a haze during the day resulting in fatigue, lack of focus, lack of motivation, mood swings and anxiety. In turn, these symptoms lead to additional insomnia. So, when your baby is sleeping at night, you may not be able to. It is a vicious cycle.

As your baby ages, additional challenges such as potty training, nightmares, and the concerns of your growing toddler and an active imagination result in sleep deprivation. Though the sleep deprivation you will likely experience as your child ages may not be as complicated as those first few months, it also provides the same symptoms.

8 Creative Ways to Deal With Bedtime Excuses
.
So, what can a parent (especially a mother) do to reclaim sleep after giving birth? Here are five tips.

Create a routine for you and the baby

Okay, to be fair your baby is probably not going to pay attention to a routine in the beginning. But, with practice and commitment a routine can help your baby sleep in longer bouts and learn to sleep so that after four months your baby may actually sleep through the entire night. Routine is good and setting a sleep routine such as bath, reading, cuddling, and sleep will be a great payback for the future.

How to Start Sleep Training The Moment You Bring Baby Home
.

Accept help

This is such an important factor in helping you sleep that you should keep a sign on your refrigerator as a reminder. After having a baby friends and family will practically tackle each other to offer help and cuddle with that little cutie. But, parents are often unwilling to accept the help. This may be from guilt or simply because it is difficult allowing someone else (including mom) to watch your baby without you there. But, whether someone offers to watch your baby a couple hours, help with the chores, or just hang out to give you a little break, it all pays off.

Keep the baby near you (but not in your bed)

A nursery is great, but it might be better after the six-month mark. In those first months your baby will wake up every couple hours and one way to miss out on sleep is that long walk to the nursery to feed. SIDS is a serious concern and one of the biggest no-no’s is letting your newborn sleep in bed with you. So, whether you have a crib or bassinet in the room keeping your baby close will help you feed without too much hassle.

How to Avoid the Stress of Sleep Training
.

Don’t worry about the dishes

Having a baby does not mean you have lost your old life, but it does mean you need to adjust going forward. That might mean that if you were emphatic about getting all the chores done and having a spotless house, those chores just might have to wait until you are having a nice relaxing day as the kids play with the grandparents. This does not mean you should live like a hoarder but prioritizing your sleep over missing a night of sweeping the floor, means you should really get your zzz’s.


Author Bio: Lisa is a mom of two and freelance writer from North Carolina. She regularly writes for the sleep health website Mattress Advisor, which has taught her so much about the importance of sleep (especially as a working mom). When she isn’t working on commissions, she loves connecting, encouraging and learning with other parents through her writing.


Why You Should Never Give a New Mom Unsolicited Advice

New moms often find themselves in a vulnerable state – physically and emotionally.

Unfortunately, many people don’t see the vulnerability of a new mom’s spirit and inadvertently do things to harm it.  Offering unsolicited advice, judging a new mom’s parenting choices, or making her feel incapable in any way can all do damage to a mother’s mental and emotional health.

Jess shares some of her experiences as a new mom, feeling judged and made to second guess her choices.  She talks about how dangerous it can be to do anything but support a new mom.  New moms don’t need us to tell them what to do, because we all figure it out eventually.  What they do need is a community of people who they trust and can go to for advice when they need it.

So the next time you see a new mom struggling, don’t give her unsolicited advice.
Why You Should Never Give A New Mom Unsolicited Advice
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
Why You Should Never Give A New Mom Unsolicited Advice How to Handle Unsolicited Advice As a New Mom
How to Protect Your Spirit from Unsolicited Advice

It really isn’t that hard to not judge other moms. Whatever your excuse might be, it does not matter.  Whether you are from the older generation where you did things differently, or maybe it’s because the way you opted to do things worked for you, you assume it’s the only way. 

But when you give unsolicited advice to a new mom, the only thing that she will take away from your statement is that she is not doing a good job.

When I had my first child, I felt so prepared. I was ready. I read the books. I went to the classes.  My husband and I had talked endlessly on how we wanted to raise our children.  We talked about what was important to us, our family values and the importance we placed on everything from Montessori toys to how we felt about screen time. I knew we were in for a huge adventure as we became parents, and as scary as it was, I felt like “yes, I can do this!”

How to Handle Unsolicited Advice As a New Mom
.

And then you came along. Someone who obviously knew more than either my husband or I when it came to raising our own child.  Everything I did received criticism or was questioned. Maybe you felt entitled to say it because you are older than me, or you had raised a child of your own.

I honestly don’t know what triggered it, but I started to hate you. I had a newborn baby and I was exhausted.  Sure, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I 100% knew better than you did when it came to the well-being of MY baby.

This was not just one person, it was several people. Maybe I was just overly sensitive, but you don’t know how the words you said to me affected me. I would cry in the car on the drive home because your unsolicited advice made me feel inadequate. I cringed at the thought of seeing you and even avoided gatherings that I knew you would be at.

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
.
That unhelpful, toxic energy was not good for my soul.

I was so new into motherhood and I was not prepared for the unsolicited advice that was being thrown at me left and right. I did not know then, as I do now, how much I would have to protect my spirit so I would not be broken.

Motherhood is heavy, oh so heavy, and the weight of it can crush you.

People feel as if they have the right to give you unsolicited advice because you NEED it. I was fortunate that I never went through the darkness of postpartum depression.  But having someone question or belittle me when it came to making decisions about this perfect little human that I shared a bond with, was one of the most frustrating things I have experienced as a mother.

6 Warning Signs That it's More Than The Baby Blues
.

As a practice of self-care, I developed a circle of support.  I now surround myself with people I love and trust and can turn to at any minute of the day when I need my spirits lifted. I could also feel my “motherly intuition” grow stronger as my baby grew. I knew when she was hungry or tired. I could sense her emotions and I grew confident in my abilities.

Now, fast forward five years down the road and another baby later, I do not let what other people say get to me when it comes to parenting.   Yes, I let my kids watch YouTube Kids and occasionally have a lollipop with their breakfast.  But I know I am a good mom to my kids and I have stopped comparing myself, or my kids, to anyone else.

So while the same people might still make the same sly comments every now and then and offer their unsolicited advice, I have learned to just smile, nod and hum Backstreet Boys songs in my head until they stop talking.

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
.
Here is my advice to all the new moms out there.

No one knows how to take care of your baby better than you.  It will be hard to remember at first, but eventually you will find that mama bear spirit lying deep within. 

And to all the well meaning people out there who have so many words of wisdom or “helpful” comments, here is some advice for you:  unless you are directly asked for advice about something, all you need to say is… repeat after me…

How to Handle Unsolicited Advice As a New Mom

7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring

Putting effort into our outward appearance is not a sign of vanity.  It has a significant impact on how we feel inside.

Being happy means aiming to both look and feel good, but it’s not always easy to do.  For mothers, how we look is not always representative of how we feel (and other times it is all too accurate).  

We may feel young and sexy and full of life but we look tired, worn out and as though we’ve given up on ourselves.  Or alternatively, we may feel like we’re dying on the inside, so we overcompensate by layering on makeup to give the appearance that “everything is fine.”

This spring, as the weather begins to warm up, we should challenge ourselves to match how we look with how we feel.
7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring
*This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring 7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring

Start From The Inside

How we look on the outside all begins with how we feel on the inside. Self esteem comes from within and if we are happy with who we are, it shows in a physical way.  If you are struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or substance overuse, then the first place to start is therapy. 

Working with a therapist, either in person or online, can help you manage everything that is creating self-doubt or a poor self image.  Online therapy in particular, is extremely convenient, especially for moms. 

Schedule your online or video therapy sessions over the winter, ensuring that you get the most out of spring and summer.

Shine The Light On Clothing | My Dog is My Therapist
Shine The Light On – The Leah

Focus on Health

Weight issues are some of the most common hurdles to looking and feeling good.  As mothers, we’ve stretched and shrunk, been cut open, torn apart and pieced back together.  Our bodies have changed in so many ways and it can be difficult to accept it as it is now.

One way to look and feel good is to forget about the extra skin on our stomachs or how much we weigh and just focus on being healthy.  Exercising to stay healthy is different than exercising to lose weight or tone muscle.  Don’t worry about counting calories or inches, just try to eat healthier food and incorporate vitamins and nutritional supplements to avoid deficiencies.

If our main focus is on being “healthy” rather than being “fit” there is less pressure on us to meet certain goals and we can learn to love our bodies again.

7 Vitamins and Minerals All Women Need To Be Healthy
.

Find Strength

In addition to being healthy, we also need to feel strong.  Strength comes in many different forms.  We can train ourselves to be physically strong by joining a gym, lifting weights, swimming, or playing a sport.  It’s important to find emotional and mental strength, as well.  Try meditation, journaling, art or aromatherapy

Being strong, both physically and mentally will inspire confidence and a sense of pride in ourselves.

Meditation Tips for People Who Hate to Meditate
.

Make a Statement

Be Kind Necklace by Sincerely Silver
Be Kind Necklace by Sincerely Silver

Your outward appearance tells the world about you, so what is it you want to say? Make a statement with your appearance by choosing clothing and accessories that speak to you.  This “Be Kind” Necklace is a simple and elegant way to remind yourself and others of the power of kindness (get 15% off with code FRIENDS15).

Clothing lines like Shine The Light On create pieces that help raise awareness about mental health.  Modern, minimalist messages imprinted on soft, luxurious fabrics make it simple to spread messages of hope and acceptance wherever you go.

In addition to looking good while making a statement, a portion of the proceeds from the Shine The Light On collection goes towards mental health initiatives – so you can also feel good knowing that you are helping to end the stigma of mental illness.

Click here to see the stunning clothing line from Shine The Light On and get 15% off with coupon code RUNINTRIANGLES15

Shine The Light On - Be You.Bravely
Shine The Light On
Make A Mental Health Fashion Statement with Shine the Light On

Take Care of Your Skin

You don’t need to do your hair and makeup to look and feel good this spring, but you should always take care of your skin.  Glowing, healthy skin looks good from the outside and can make a person feel good on the inside. 

As mothers, when we feel over-cuddled and overstimulated after a long day, it’s our skin and sense of touch that suffers.  This is why caring for our skin plays such an important role in how we look and feel.  Plus, the act of massaging lotion onto our skin can stimulate our lymphatic system and help keep our bodies healthy from the inside.

So splurge on a good, all natural skin care line to make sure that you’re not coating your skin in chemicals.  Soak in a bath filled with Epsom salts to help soften and relax your muscles.  Use sunscreen all year round, especially when you plan to spend longer amounts of time outdoors.

And make sure that you schedule yourself enough time each day to perform your daily skin care routine.

.

Change is Good

Try a new look this spring. Cut or color your hair, try out a new clothing style or color that you would never normally wear.  Get a piercing or tattoo, eyelash extensions, permanent makeup or micro-bladed eyebrows.  You don’t need to go so far as getting plastic surgery, but if there are specific problem areas that have always bothered you, then consider booking an appointment with a doctor or dermatologist to discuss your options.

Don’t be afraid of change, though it might take some time to get used to.  Only make changes that are truly something you want to do, and never in an effort to please anyone else or be someone other than yourself.   Changing something about your outward appearance can make you feel mysterious, spontaneous and empowered. 

Deciding to change something about your appearance should remind you that you are in control of your body and what happens to it.


Comfortable Is Beautiful

“The mom look” is normally one associated with comfort and function.  But comfortable can also be beautiful so don’t feel like you need to trade one for the other.  It is entirely possible to look good and feel comfortable at the same time, as long as you choose the right pieces.

If you feel uncomfortable in your clothing, whether it’s shoes that pinch or a waistband that’s too tight, you will act uncomfortably.  So just bite the bullet and get rid of anything that you hate wearing, no matter how expensive or “designer” it might be.

Being comfortable in your own skin is the best way to show the world your confidence and beauty.

Shine The Light On - The Struggle is Real
Shine The Light On

Shine the Light On - Grateful Over Everything Shine the Light On - Normal is Boring Shine the Light On - Rather Be in Bed

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health

Moms are hardworking and give all of themselves to their children and families… but at what cost?

A mother who works endlessly to provide for the needs of her children can often forget to take care of herself.  Many mothers don’t even realize some of the things they are doing to harm their mental health.  It’s easy to fall into “survival mode”  and not think about anything other than just making it through to the end of the day.  Some of the things we do each day to survive, whether intentionally or not,  can have a negative impact on our mental health.

Here are a few things many moms do that can actually harm their mental health.
11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Forget to Eat

This one is at the top of the list because it’s something all moms are guilty of. We get busy preparing meals for the kids and when we try to sit down to eat our own food, someone spills something, or wants seconds or needs ketchup.  Moms may have every intention of eating a full meal while it’s still hot, but it rarely ever happens.  And when it does, it probably consists of sandwich crusts with a side of half eaten fish sticks.  

Good nutrition is important for maintaining our mental health.  Many symptoms of depression and anxiety worsen when our bodies experience vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.  By forgetting to eat throughout the day, it’s easy to fall into the unhealthy habit of binge-eating at night, which can cause feelings of guilt and contribute to depression.

Don’t let bad eating habits harm your mental health.  Eat healthy and use supplements to make sure your body is getting enough energy.

Go to Bed Late

It’s no secret that moms are always tired. Raising kids is exhausting work, both physically and mentally, and it requires a good amount of sleep that we often don’t get.  But even the most sleep deprived mom is sometimes guilty of staying up way past bedtime.

After the kids are in bed is sometimes the only chance a mother gets to herself all day.  Whether it’s catching up on recorded TV shows,  scrolling through social media or just enjoying the peace and quiet, we never want it to end.   But staying up late is a habit that does a lot of harm to our mental health.

Schedule yourself some self-care time throughout the day if possible, so that when bed time comes around you’ll be ready for nothing else but sleep.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
.

Ignore a Phone Call

Actual phone calls are becoming more of a rare occurrence in this modern world. Plus, everyone knows that the kids think “mom’s on the phone” translates to “scream as loud as you can.”  A text message is so much more convenient for a mother and it’s the preferred way of communicating.  So when our phone rings, it’s instinctual that we silence our phone and ignore the call.

Of course, it all depends on who the call is from, but if it’s a friend, don’t ignore it.  Talking to someone on the phone can be therapeutic and mean so much more than a simple text message.  Mental illness works by isolating us from others, so being able to connect with someone on a real, human level is important for keeping us sane.

.

Avoid Looking in Mirrors

This is kind of a weird one, and I bet you don’t even realize that you do it (or don’t do it).  If you’re a stay at home mom, chances are you probably haven’t changed out of your sweat pants in three days.  Maybe you forgot to brush your teeth this morning and you can’t even remember the last time you washed your hair.  You may avoid looking at yourself in the mirror for fear of what you might see.  

Avoiding a mirror means that we’ve created an idea of what we look like in our minds and it’s one that we feel unhappy with.  This idea can lead us down a path to poor self-esteem and lowered confidence levels, an environment in which mental illness thrives.

Make it habit to look at yourself in the mirror at least once a day and find something that you love about what you see.

7 Ways Moms Can Look and Feel Good This Spring
.

Skip Doctor Appointments

The doctor, dentist, therapist, optometrist, chiropractor, etc. – we haul the kids around to regular appointments and yet procrastinate our own. Pregnancy means doctor appointments so frequently that we get to know the staff in our OB’s office on a personal basis.  We cared about those because they were important for the well being of our child, which is one of our biggest priorities.

I’m sure we can all come up with a hundred excuses as to why we do this.  It costs money we may not have and it’s hard to find time to attend these appointments without the kids.  But this act of self-sacrifice is dangerous for both our mental and physical health.

Try booking all your checkups for the year in advance so that you can make whatever arrangements you need to in order to attend them.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
.

Depend Too Much On Coffee/Wine/Advil

Addiction is not something that’s spoken about enough among mothers.  We tend to think of addicts as people living on the streets, wasting their lives away.  But addiction can happen to anyone, and at different levels of intensity.

Caffeine, alcohol and medications are common addictions among mothers.  And while it may not be at a point where they are destroying our lives, we’re unsure how we would function without them.  Relying too heavily on coffee or needing that glass of wine to help us relax at the end of the day are all forms of addiction.  Addictive behaviors can be a symptom of anxiety and are something we should try to avoid for better mental health.

Try to limit how much you depend on stimulants to make it through the day and choose healthier options that are better for your mental health.

The Postpartum Depression Drug | Brexanolone (Zulresso)
.

Pile Things in a Closet

You know which closet I’m talking about, everyone has one (or four) in their home that’s filled with junk. If you’re not sure where to put something, pile it in a closet until you get to it, right?  But you’ll probably only get to it when that closet is so full that you can’t even open it anymore.

Clutter can weigh heavily on our minds, destroying our mental health in the long run.  Knowing that we have a closet filled with junk, being unsure of what exactly is in there, and putting off cleaning it out can make us feel depressed and unproductive.  You don’t need to go full minimalist, but avoiding hidden clutter is a good place to start.

Spring cleaning time is nearly upon us, so make those junk-filled closets a priority.

Is Decluttering the Secret to Less Stress and Better Mental Health?
.

Shop Only For the Kids

Not only are kids fun to shop for, but they also need a LOT of stuff.  They grow so fast that it’s hard to keep up with their sizes.  And if you’re like me, then you live vicariously through them and buy things that you would have loved to have as a kid.  But then what happens is that you have kids who look like children of celebrities and you get mistaken for their nanny.  

Remember what it was like before kids, when a little retail therapy was the perfect cure for a bad day?  It still works, but you need to actually focus on shopping for yourself.  Moms tend to feel guilty or selfish spending money on themselves, especially when they’re on a tight budget.  But splurging on something just for you is good for your mental health. [Start now and get $10 off a spring FabFitFun box using coupon code FAB10!]

So make a shopping trip alone and don’t you dare wander into the kids section!

5 Spring Fashion Must-Haves for Busy Moms
.

Avoid the Outdoors

Whether it’s the cold weather or your greasy hair keeping you indoors, it’s doing harm to your mental health. Our bodies need fresh air and sunshine, they literally cannot function properly without it.  If you think the trip from the house to the car and back again is enough, it’s not.

It’s not just about the fresh air, though, otherwise you could just open a window.  You need to talk to people, make eye contact, feel their touch and smile at them.  Find space to move your body – run, walk, swim, whatever makes you feel good.  A change of scenery and some time outdoors is the easiest way to improve your mood.

So make it a habit to get outdoors at least once a day, and twice on weekends.

16 Ways Ecotherapy is Good for Moms
.

Put up with Negative People

You don’t need negative energy in your life, especially if your mental health is already suffering.  However, cutting people out of your life is easier said than done.  You don’t need to be rude to anyone, make a big deal out of it or even say anything at all.  Just avoid spending time with people who cause you to feel stressed.

It could be the mother of your child’s friend who constantly tries to “one-up” you.  Or maybe it’s that pessimistic family member who makes you worry about everything happening in the world.  Don’t feel obligated to socialize with people who’s negative attitude does harm to your mental health. 

Distance yourself from the negative people in your life, and surround yourself with those you love instead.

Self Care Routine for a Stay at Home Mom
.

Compare Themselves to Others

You will never experience peace of mind if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others.  This is especially common among the parenting community, despite the fact that all children and parenting styles are different.

It can be difficult on our mental health to see others doing well when we are clearly struggling.  But remember that people are more inclined to share their success stories, than they are their struggles.  This explains the stigma surrounding mental illness and the reason why so many mothers don’t talk about it.  

Speak openly about real motherhood and all the struggles that come with it.  And encourage others to do the same.


11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health 11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health

11 Things Moms Do That Can Harm Their Mental Health
11 Things Moms Do that Harm their Mental Health

11 Things Moms Do that Harm their Mental Health

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year

Our mental health struggles evolve with the seasons.

Throughout the year, our mental health will go through a series of highs and lows.  Whether you’ve been struggling with seasonal affective disorder, depression, anxiety or another mental illness, you may find that it’s worse at different times throughout the year.  In order to improve your mental health, you must consider all the different factors that each season brings.

Here are some ways that you can improve your mental health this year, broken down by months.
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

January 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

The first step to improve your mental health throughout the entire year is to start with a plan.  You only have to plan out as much or as little of your year as you’re comfortable with.  The simplest way to do this is with a calendar of the full year.  You can choose a large desk calendar, a smaller personal calendar, an agenda or a bullet journal.

Start by filling in all your important dates.  Write down everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, work schedules and appointments.  If you have a vacation coming up this summer, write it on the calendar in great big bold letters!  Don’t forget to schedule in your self-care time!

Then, make a list of goals you hope to achieve and put the dates you want to reach them on your calendar.  Think outside the box when it comes to your goals, don’t be afraid to celebrate the small wins.   For example, if insomnia is a problem for you, then set a goal to get one straight week of decent sleep.  Keep your calendar somewhere you can see it every single day, and don’t forget to update it each month with new tasks and goals.

Having a plan in place, with attainable goals, will help you feel more organized and confident and ultimately improve your mental health.

February 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Finally, the last of the winter months!  Take some time this month to embrace the cold weather before it’s gone and enjoy all things warm and cozy.  The Scandinavians refer to this practice as “hygge(pronounced hoo-gah).

The cold and darkness of the winter months can have a strong effect on our mental health, especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  But knowing that spring is right around the corner can bring a glimmer of hope and actually improve our mental health.

So celebrate the end of winter by getting in one last fire in the fireplace, drink all the hot cocoa and stay in bed as long as you want.

March 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

It’s time for some spring cleaning! But I’m not talking about dishes and laundry and other everyday tasks.  One of the best ways to improve your mental health is to get rid of all the junk piling up in your living space.  Decluttering your environment is a great way to declutter your mind as well.

Take a few tips from Marie Kondo and organize your spaces.  Clean out your closets, drawers and cupboards.  Get rid of anything that doesn’t have a purpose or bring you joy.  Sort through your paperwork and try to go digital wherever possible.

You don’t need to go full minimalist, but having clean, organized spaces can do wonders for your overall mental health.

April 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

With the arrival of spring, it’s the perfect time to try out your green thumb.  Gardening is a form of ecotherapy that can help to improve your mental health.  Escaping to your garden can be a form of self care, and there are many indoor plants that offer great health benefits.

Gardening is also an activity you can opt to do with the kids.  Not only do they love playing in the dirt, but they can learn so much about the environment and where food comes from.  If you have picky eaters, they’ll be more likely to eat vegetables that they’ve watched grow in their garden.

Plant some seeds this month and you’ll have something to occupy your mind all summer.  Watching your seedlings grow will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment that will boost your mood and self confidence.

May 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Warm weather is just around the corner, so it’s time to pamper that dry winter skin.  Our skin and sense of touch has a big impact on our mental health.  That’s why we can feel so overwhelmed and frazzled when we’ve been over-touched all day by our kids.

For months, our skin has been exposed to harsh temperatures, covered up and neglected.  It’s time to book a spa day or massage and facial or even just plan some DIY pampering at home.  Try out a new summer hairstyle, get a pedicure before breaking out the flip flops and switch to a lighter makeup routine for summer.

Focusing on your outward appearance can boost your confidence and improve your mental health.

June 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Finally, the world is bright and green again.  Spend as much time outdoors as possible this month.  Your body has been deprived of Vitamin D, sunshine and fresh air for months, so get as much of it in as possible.

Go for a walk, run, hike or bike ride.  Outdoor activities often feel less like exercise than going to the gym, and exercise is so important for maintaining your mental health.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to get your bikini body ready, either.  Hang up a hammock, dust off your patio chairs or lie right on the grass and relax, completely guilt free. Even having your lunch or morning coffee outside will do wonders to improve your mental health.

You made it through the winter so sit back and enjoy the warmth and sunshine while you can.

July 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Do you remember summer vacation as a kid?  If you have fond memories of summer camp, beach days, camping trips or playing from sun up to sun down, then embrace that and be a kid again this month.

Plan some camping trips or beach days.  Swim as often as you can, no matter what you look like in your bathing suit.  Head to the splash parks and let loose.  Take up a new sport that you’ve always to try.  Channel your inner child and just have some good old-fashioned summer fun.  Don’t forget to take a ton of pictures and maybe even put it together in an album to look at each year.

When you’re battling a mental illness, it’s probably been a long time since you had any real fun.  Remembering a happy time from your childhood can help to improve your mental health in the simplest way.

August 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

This month, it’s time to focus on something that’s so important for our mental health, but often neglected.  Our support system A.K.A. our friends.  It’s not unusual to withdraw from society while battling a mental illness but what we don’t realize at the time is how important it is to have a strong support system around us.  So focus on those friends this month.

Host a backyard BBQ or plan a group camping trip.  Only invite the people you want to spend time with and don’t feel obligated to invite anyone who brings negativity into your life.  If you’re not ready to be that social yet, then aim for a night out with a couple friends that you’ve been meaning to connect with.

Get out of your comfort zone a little bit this month, dust off your social skills and strengthen your social circle.

September 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Back to school season means that everyone is learning something new, so why shouldn’t you?  September is a great month to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill.

Think of something that you’ve always wanted to do.  You could start making sushi, learn calligraphy or take a photography class.  The possibilities are truly endless.  Check Pinterest, a local hobby store or your bucket list for more inspiration.

Distracting the mind with learning something new can improve your mental health by working your brain in a different way.   Doing something artistic, such as painting, is a great way of expressing any bottled up emotions you may be harboring.  And choosing something physical, like a new sport, can help to burn off any pent up energy.

Our minds love a challenge, so put your brain to work this month.

October 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Just like that, the warmer weather is coming to an end.  This can bring a sense of doom and gloom, even if you don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  The thought of winter coming back again, plus the added stress of the holidays can have a severe effect on anyone’s mental health.

Be proactive this month in order to improve your mental health.  Sign up for some online therapy sessions that you can do at your own pace in preparation for the stress that lies ahead.  Stock up on aromatherapy supplies and enroll in a yoga class.  Get as much information as you can about mental illness because knowledge is power.

Being prepared for the most stressful season ahead can help you feel less overwhelmed.

November 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Whether you start your Christmas shopping early or leave it to the last minute, there should be someone who is at the very top of the list.  You.

This is the month to indulge.  Buy that special something you’ve always wanted but felt guilty splurging on.  Or sign up for a monthly self care box.  I mean, sure, Christmas is coming and you could always add it to your wish list – but there is something so meaningful and significant about buying something yourself.

It’s a way to remind yourself that you are in control of your own happiness.

Prioritizing yourself doesn’t make you a selfish person.  You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.  With the holiday season coming up, your focus is going to shift to your family and friends and making the holidays memorable.

The most expensive part of the year is upon us.  Now is a good time to have a look at your bills and budget and meet with a financial advisor. Fellow mom and Winnipeger, Sandi Huynen, knows what it’s like.  Check out her website for more information.

December 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

This can be a stressful month for many different reasons:  the financial strain, the stress of Christmas shopping, the long list of events, and anyone who has lost a loved one will miss them especially around the holidays.

One of the best ways to improve your mental health this month is to scale things down.  There is a lot of pressure, especially on mothers, to make Christmas memorable.  Mostly because, when we look back at our happiest memories – they are at Christmastime and we want that for our children as well.

But it’s not about the size of the tree or the gifts.  It’s not about how many crafts or activities or advent calendars there are.  The things we remember most about the holidays is getting together with everyone.

If you want to improve your mental health, scale back the holiday decorations and festivities and focus more on enjoying time with family.

Don’t forget to download a free printable PDF calendar in the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Free Resource Library!Click here to subscribe for instant access!

Depression Infographic
The Recovery Village
12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
Pin It!

12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health